Diabetes is a chronic condition that primarily affects your blood sugar levels. If left untreated, it may affect your heart, kidneys, vision and much more.
When you are newly diagnosed with diabetes, your physician may prescribe you one or more types of treatment to manage your blood sugar levels and reduce your complications. You can help yourself with simple lifestyle and diet modifications.
Further, your doctor may also provide you with a care plan for diabetes mellitus.
Knowing that you have diabetes may feel overwhelming and you may not know what to do next. The following ideas can help:
1. Understand What is Diabetes and How to Manage It
The good news is that complications from diabetes can be prevented or delayed when handled correctly. All in all, diabetes is all about managing and monitoring blood sugar levels.
- Accept the diagnosis and educate yourself about diabetes and diabetes-related complications.
- Speak to a diabetologist or health specialist regarding your concerns and queries about the disease. Whatever you read may not be accurate, hence always discuss the same with a professional.
- Prepare a list of queries that you may have and discuss the same with a specialist.
- Do not ignore it and keep a check on the blood sugar levels. Unattended diabetes may have complications such as cardiovascular damage and Alzheimer’s disease.
2. Lifestyle Changes for Diabetes
Managing diabetes is about maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including a healthy diet, exercise and weight management.
Seek the help of experts like an endocrinologist, diabetes educator and other health specialists to develop the skills to manage your diabetes. Some of the healthy behaviours are:
- Losing weight in diabetes – Obesity increases the risk of various diseases, including diabetes. Losing weight helps in improving insulin resistance thus, helps in reducing sugar. Your healthcare professional may encourage you to cut calories and advise you to lose weight, as it helps you maintain a healthy blood sugar level.
- Eating healthy in diabetes – Your diabetologist may advise you to visit a nutritional expert to design a diabetic meal plan for you. They will encourage you to eat healthy foods, including vegetables, fruits, non-fat dairy foods, healthy fats, whole grains and lean proteins. Eating a balanced diet is vital for your overall health. It is about limiting your intake and spacing out your meals evenly throughout the day.
A person with diabetes mustn’t skip any meals, especially when on medication.
- Staying active with diabetes – Depending on your comorbidities, consider activities such as walking, swimming, yoga, stretching, weightlifting or biking. Exercise lowers blood sugar levels and increases your insulin sensitivity. Hence, it is vital to exercise for diabetes control. It’s important to understand that you should start exercising only after consulting your doctor.
3. Medication for Diabetes
Depending on your medical history and blood sugar levels, your physician may prescribe single or multiple medications to maintain your blood sugar in a healthy range.
One must continue these medications as instructed by their doctor and adopt a healthy lifestyle and diet. If in doubt, always discuss medication options with your diabetologist and they can help you understand the possible risks and advantages associated with them.
4. Blood Sugar Monitoring
Keep a glucometer or blood sugar monitor to check your blood glucose levels at home. Extreme sugar levels can cause health complications. Hence, it is essential to monitor and maintain your blood sugar levels in the target range.
5. Maintain Records
Tracking, recording and maintaining your blood sugar levels, diet plan, medications, prescription and other various reports will help you and your diabetologist understand or recognise patterns in blood sugar fluctuations if any. It is essential to maintain a health journal with details, such as meals, sugar levels and exercise regimen.
Keeping the prescription in the doctor’s file makes it easy for the physician to check your history.
Moreover, keeping records helps the physician determine the progress or regress you have made. It can help the doctor in titrating your treatment plan.
6. Find Support
Knowing that others can relate with you as they have the same problems as you have is comforting. You can share your concerns with people going through the same and get ideas on what has helped them.
You can find support and guidance by joining organisations, forums or groups.
Getting diagnosed with a new disease may be challenging to accept and handle. Hence, it is essential to understand the severity of the disease and implement the changes advised by the healthcare professional.
The critical aspect of managing diabetes is making lifestyle changes and following them to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Talking to the experts and following their instructions will surely help you.
It is always beneficial to talk to people going through the same issue as it helps you prepare and prevent complications that may arise due to a misstep.
Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.